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UMass transfer Derrick Gordon lands at Seton Hall, decries ‘blatant homophobia’ at some colleges

05.18.15 at 12:46 pm ET
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Derrick Gordon

Derrick Gordon

Derrick Gordon, who made headlines when he became the first openly gay Division 1 men’s basketball last year before his junior season at UMass, announced that he is transferring to Seton Hall.

Gordon reiterated that he left UMass for reasons related to his on-court role on the team. The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 9.8 points and 4.9 rebounds per game last season.

“It really had nothing to do with my sexuality or anything like that,” he told USA Today. “Everything was great at UMass. There were no issues. We showered together and I don’t look at my teammates like that. … At the beginning, were they uncomfortable? Yeah. But they were real with me, expressed concern, and we dealt with it. That made us better friends, better teammates.”

However, when looking at transfer possibilities, Gordon said a number of schools made it clear they had no interest in him because of his sexual orientation.

“During the recruiting process, a number of schools didn’t want me because I’m gay,” he said. “To me, that’s blatant homophobia. At the end of the day, no coaches will ever admit that they don’t want me because I’m gay and there’s baggage that comes with the attention.

“Honestly, it caught me off guard. It really hurt. It had me stressed, crying. I was starting to lose hope. I felt like I was being treated like an outsider, like I didn’t belong in the NCAA. I couldn’t believe it because I’m a good player and they were looking at the opposite — something that doesn’t mean anything with my [sexuality]. … ‘Nah, not the gay guy.’ ”

Gordon, who played high school ball in Elizabeth, New Jersey, and started his college career at Western Kentucky, can play immediately at Seton Hall as a graduate transfer. He’ll help coach Kevin Willard replace leading scorer Sterling Gibbs, who transferred to UConn.

While he remains the only Division 1 player to publicly reveal his homosexuality, Gordon said he doesn’t expect to be alone much longer.

“It won’t be surprising if there are more players coming out very soon,” he said.

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Sources: BU’s Evan Rodrigues to sign free agent deal with Sabres

04.21.15 at 8:31 pm ET
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Boston University forward Evan Rodrigues will sign with the Buffalo Sabres, according to sources. The undrafted free agent ranked second in the country with 61 points (21 goals, 40 assists) in 41 games as a senior while playing on a line with freshman star Jack Eichel. Interestingly enough, Buffalo is also the probable landing spot for Eichel now that the Sabres have the second overall pick.

Rodrigues is a 5-foot-11 right shot from Etobicoke, Ontario. He played left wing this season, but had also played on the right side for stretches of his BU career. Rodrigues is a stellar two-way player who featured prominently on both the penalty kill and power play for the Terriers. BU coach David Quinn has said that Rodrigues is one of the smartest college hockey players he has ever coached.

Rodrigues helped lead the Terriers to Hockey East regular-season and tournament titles this season, as well as a Frozen Four appearance. They ultimately fell to Providence in the national championship game.

Providence celebrates national championship hockey team

04.14.15 at 10:57 pm ET
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The national championship Providence hockey team was honored at a ceremony Tuesday. (John Rooke)

The national championship Providence College hockey team was honored at a ceremony Tuesday at Schneider Arena. (John Rooke)

For some fans of Providence College, it hasn’t really sunk in. Not yet, anyway.

That was a prevailing feeling among many of the 1,200-plus fans, faculty, students and alumni who took time from their Tuesday afternoon to join the Providence Friars hockey team for a national championship celebration at Schneider Arena on the PC campus. Beating Hockey East rival Boston University, 4-3, in the title game Saturday night in the Frozen Four at TD Garden, with a sudden and somewhat shocking comeback in the final period, wasn’t totally unexpected — even if the way the Friars managed to do it was a bit surprising.

Senior forward and captain Ross Mauermann, admitting he’s still coming to grips with the NCAA Tournament run that began in Providence in the regional (with wins over Miami and Denver), told the crowd the championship was just part of a team dream that had suddenly come true.

“Each one of us believed that we could get this done,” Mauermann told the appreciative crowd. “We trusted in one another and we just came together.”

With 8:36 left in the third period of the title game, junior defenseman Tom Parisi simply dumped the puck from center ice into the BU zone, where it was caught — and then inexplicably dropped — by Terriers goaltender Matt O’Connor. The puck crawled through O’Connor’s pads into the goal to tie the score at 3. Sensing opportunity — if not true good fortune — the Friars scored the game-winning goal two minutes later when junior forward Brandon Tanev wristed a shot past O’Connor from the slot.

Providence goalie Jon Gillies, the Frozen Four’s Most Outstanding Player, came up with his career-high 49th save on a diving, twisting stop with a minute remaining to seal the victory. It was quite the comeback for the Friars, who had managed to give up the fastest two goals in NCAA Tournament history to the Terriers — just four seconds apart — in the second period for a 2-1 BU advantage.

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Reports: BC guard Olivier Hanlan expected to delcare for NBA draft

04.14.15 at 9:19 am ET
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According to multiple reports, Boston College junior guard Olivier Hanlan is expected to declare for the NBA draft. If he does, he will forgo his senior season.

This past season Hanlan averaged 19.5 points, 4.2 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game. Boston College went 4-14 in the ACC and 13-19 overall. He is one of the better players in BC history as he became the third player in Boston College history and the 29th player in ACC history to reach 1,000 points as a sophomore, joining Troy Bell and Craig Smith.

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Jon Gillies shows he’s not just Most Outstanding Player, he’s compassionate, too

04.12.15 at 11:35 am ET
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Jon Gillies really does feel for his buddy Matt O’Connor.

The Providence College goalie made that much clear after he and his Friar teammates skated off with a 4-3 win over Boston University in the NCAA championship game Saturday night at TD Garden.

Gillies, voted the Most Outstanding Player of the Frozen Four, was not only the counterpart of O’Connor 200 feet away Saturday, he was playing against another goalie he considers a friend. And when a friend drops a puck into his own goal in the third period of a one-goal game with the NCAA title on the line, it’s hard not to feel sympathetic.

“As a goalie you feel for him,” said Gillies, who stopped 49 of 52 shots Saturday night. “I know him personally. He’s a wonderful goalie. He had a great year and he was fantastic throughout the tournament to get here.”

Gillies, 21, played against O’Connor in 2011 and 2012 when Gillies was with the Indiana Ice of the USHL and O’Connor played for the Youngstown Phantoms. Gillies was the third round pick (75 overall) of the Calgary Flames in 2012. The 23-year-old O’Connor is just hoping for a chance somewhere.

“I’ve played against Matt for the two years before I came here in the USHL, and I got to know him personally,” Gillies said. “And like I said before, as a goalie you feel for a bounce like that. And you’ve been there, so you know the bottomless feeling that it presents and just told him how great of a season he had, how great of a tournament he had, how great of a game he had. He made huge stops throughout the entire game.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston University, Calgary Flames, Frozen Four, Jon Gillies

David Quinn declares his Terriers will ‘be back’ after ‘a tough one to swallow’ in title game

04.12.15 at 4:08 am ET
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What do you say to your team that was just over eight minutes from a national championship?

If you’re David Quinn of the Boston University Terriers, it’s about looking to the future.

Sure, the 4-3 NCAA title game loss to Hockey East rival Providence is going to sting for a long while into the spring and summer. But Quinn knows his team Saturday consisted of eight freshman (four on defense), three sophomores, five juniors (including goalie Matt O’Connor) and just two seniors and a graduate student.

One of the freshman, Hobey Baker winner Jack Eichel, may leave for the NHL after either Buffalo, Arizona or Edmonton selects him in the upcoming draft. But the core of a championship roster and re-built program is in place.

“I’ve been very lucky in life. I’ve been coaching for 20 years, and I’ve never enjoyed coaching a team more than the one we had this year. And there’s not much I can say to make our guys feel any better or make anybody associated with BU hockey feel any better right now, but it’s been an incredible year.

“One team wins the last game of the season. The things we’ve accomplished, when nobody thought we could do any of it, are incredible testament to the two guys to my left and everybody else associated with our team. Every player, every student manager- every equipment manager, we were a team. We were a true team.

“And that doesn’t happen very often in sports. We get to this point because we won as a team. And we lost the game tonight because we as a team didn’t play well enough. Bottom line. Providence played better. They won the hockey game. And I want to congratulate Nate [Leaman], he does a heck of a job. And, it’€™s a tough one to swallow, without question. But we’ll be back.”

Read More: Boston University Terriers, David Quinn, Frozen Four,

BU refuses to blame Matt O’Connor, remains ‘proud’ of goalie despite costly mistake in national championship game

04.12.15 at 1:52 am ET
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Anthony Moccia tried. He tried saying something when there was so little to be said. He tried picking up his best friend after watching him commit one of the costliest blunders in the history of college hockey.

With 8:34 left in Saturday’€™s national championship game, Boston University goalie Matt O’€™Connor gloved a seemingly harmless dump-in from the neutral zone. But then he bobbled the puck, lost track of it in his pads and wound up knocking it into his own net to tie the game for Providence. Two minutes later, the Friars took the lead.

During the next TV timeout, O’€™Connor slowly made his way to the BU bench. It was there that Moccia, BU’s third-string goalie and O’€™Connor’€™s roommate, grabbed the downtrodden goalie and spoke from his heart.

“I just said, ‘I’€™m so proud of you,'” Moccia said. “‘You’€™re my best friend. I love you, bud. We’€™re gonna pick you up. Just keep kicking. Hang tough because you’€™re the one who took us here.'”

The Terriers couldn’€™t pick O’€™Connor up, though. They had done it numerous times throughout the season, just as O’€™Connor had picked them up many times. But it didn’€™t happen Saturday. Jon Gillies was too good at the other end of the ice. The Terriers had chances over the game’€™s final six minutes, but they couldn’€™t find the tying tally.

After the game, Moccia put his arm around O’€™Connor again. He knew it was just about impossible to say anything that would actually make O’€™Connor feel any better in that moment, but he had to try. He couldn’€™t bear to see his best friend feeling the way O’€™Connor felt.

“I’€™m so proud of this guy,” Moccia said. “The character he showed the whole year, he’€™s the reason that we’€™re here. He’€™s made my last year unforgettable. I love the guy. I hate to see him upset like that. You hate to see your best friend, your brother upset. Honestly, that’€™s what hurts the most. It’€™s not even the loss. It’€™s just seeing the guys and seeing Matt so upset.”

It was a sentiment echoed throughout the BU locker room after the game. There was obviously disappointment. Disappointment that they had come this far and had won every other trophy they had played for this season, but couldn’€™t win this one. Disappointment that they had the lead in the national championship game with under nine minutes to go, but couldn’€™t close it out. Read the rest of this entry »

Providence tops Boston University to win first national title in program history

04.11.15 at 10:25 pm ET
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Providence won its first national championship on Saturday. (Getty Images)

Providence won its first national championship on Saturday. (Getty Images)

For the first time in program history, the Providence Friars are national champions. The Friars overcame a 3-2 third-period deficit to beat Boston University 4-3 in Saturday night’€™s title game at TD Garden.

The Friars had been pressuring BU throughout the third period, but they ended up tying the game one of the softest and flukiest goals you’€™ll ever see. Defenseman Tom Parisi dumped a pop-up on net from the neutral zone that BU goalie Matt O’€™Connor easily gloved. Then things got weird, though. O’€™Connor completely misplayed the puck as he went to drop it to the ice and wound up kicking it into his own net.

Providence smelled blood and struck again two minutes later. Kevin Rooney won an offensive-zone faceoff to Brandon Tanev right after a BU timeout and Tanev walked into the slot before firing a shot high glove.

BU turned up the pressure for the remainder of the game, but Jon Gillies and the Providence defense stood tall. The Terriers’€™ best chance came with 1:03 to go when a puck pinballed over to Nick Roberto with Gillies down, but the puck rode up Roberto’€™s stick and fluttered into Gillies’€™ chest. Gillies finished the game with 49 saves on 52 shots to cap off a remarkable individual season.

The Friars opened the game’€™s scoring 9:25 into the first period. A scramble began after a rebound popped off O’€™Connor and landed in the slot. Noel Acciari hit the post and the puck caromed out to West Roxbury native Anthony Florentino, who ripped a slap shot blocker-side.

The Terriers tied the game with 7:10 left in the first. After making a nice play to keep the puck in the zone, Ahti Oksanen fired a shot through a Cason Hohmann screen that squeaked through Gillies. It was the 25th goal of the season for Oksanen, who was converted to forward before the season after playing defense for his first two years at BU.

It took just four second for BU to strike again. Jack Eichel won the ensuing faceoff and immediately turned it into a rush in the Providence zone. He then slid the puck over to Danny O’€™Regan, who flipped a backhander past Gillies for his 23rd goal of the season. The two goals in four seconds were the fastest two goals in NCAA tournament history.

The Friars tied the game at 2-2 on a power-play goal 4:29 into the second. With four seconds left on the man advantage, Trevor Mingoia got the puck in the left circle and made a beautiful backhand pass through the slot to Mark Jankowski, who one-timed a shot past a sliding O’€™Connor for his second goal of the Frozen Four.

The Terriers retook the lead with 8:24 left in the second. After Hohmann won an offensive-zone draw, Oksanen threw the puck the front and it ricocheted off a skate right to Hohmann, who waited out a sprawling Gillies before scoring.

BU’s Jack Eichel becomes youngest player to win Hobey Baker Award

04.10.15 at 5:32 pm ET
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Jack Eichel became the youngest player to win the Hobey Baker Award on Friday. The Boston University star beat out Harvard’€™s Jimmy Vesey and North Dakota’€™s Zane McIntyre to become the second freshman to win college hockey’€™s top individual award, joining Maine’€™s Paul Kariya (1993 winner).

Eichel, a North Chelmsford native who is expected to go second overall in this summer’€™s NHL draft, leads the country with 70 points (26 goals, 44 assists) and 1.79 points per game. He registered two goals and an assist in Thursday night’€™s 5-3 win over North Dakota in the national semifinals at TD Garden. The Terriers take on Providence in the national championship Saturday night.

Eichel becomes the third BU player to win the Hobey Baker Award, joining Chris Drury (1998) and Matt Gilroy (2009). He also becomes the second straight player from a Boston school to win, as Boston College‘s Johnny Gaudreau won the award last year.

This year’s Hobey Baker Award presentation was held at Northeastern’s Matthews Arena, the only arena still standing in which Hobey Baker played.

The All-American teams were also announced Friday. They are as follows:

First Team East
G Alex Lyon (Yale)
D Matt Grzelcyk (BU)
D Rob O’€™Gara (Yale)
F Daniel Ciampini (Union)
F Jack Eichel (BU)
F Jimmy Vesey (Harvard)

First Team West
G Jake Hildebrand (Michigan State)
D Joey LaLeggia (Denver)
D Mike Reilly (Minnesota)
F Zach Hyman (Michigan)
F Tanner Kero (Michigan Tech)
F Matt Leitner (Minnesota State)

Second Team East
G Jon Gillies (Providence)
D Mike Paliotta (Vermont)
D Robbie Russo (Notre Dame)
F Sam Anas (Quinnipiac)
F Matt Garbowsky (RIT)
F Kevin Roy (Northeastern)

Second Team West
G Zane McIntyre (North Dakota)
D Zach Palmquist (Minnesota State)
D Colton Parayko (Alaska)
F Austin Czarnik (Miami)
F Dylan Larkin (Michigan)
F Trevor Moore (Denver)

Grzelcyk, O’€™Gara and McIntyre are all Bruins draft picks, while Czarnik just signed with the Bruins as a free agent last week.

David Quinn to his Terriers on escape act Thursday: ‘We better learn from this’

04.10.15 at 2:36 am ET
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In just his second year behind the bench for the Boston University Terriers, David Quinn considers himself a lucky man.

There’s no better example of his good fortune than what transpired Thursday night at TD Garden. In BU’s 5-3 win over North Dakota, Quinn watched his team ride a roller coaster that featured timely shots and saves, untimely bounces and undisciplined decisions by one of his best players.

The Terriers jumped out to a 2-0 first period lead. When North Dakota cut the lead in half, BU was under a great deal of pressure. But goalie Matt O’Connor made some big saves in close and got some help twice from the iron behind him as UND could not score the equalizer. Then BU scored the next two goals and appeared in the clear, up 4-1 entering the final period.

Then O’Connor did something Quinn hadn’t seen all year. He misplayed a puck behind him while BU was on the power play, allowing North Dakota an easy short-handed goal. Then, another bizarre occurrence, a call for too many men. North Dakota scored and it was 4-3 with just under four minutes left.

Finally, Evan Rodrigues took a bad unsportsmanlike penalty with 1:33 left in regulation, cross-checking North Dakota’s Stephane Pattyn in the neck. Instead of a 5-on-4 power play with a chance of an extra attacker, coincidental minors were called and Quinn knew he had dodged yet another bullet.

“We were talking about keeping our cool all game,” Quinn said. “That’s something we touched on before the game. I didn’t see the penalty. But the fact that he put himself in a position to go to the penalty box tells me all I need to know about it. That late, after the scrum, again, he hasn’t done that all year. So we’re lucky it went 4 on 4 and not 5 on 4. And hopefully we’re going to learn some lessons tonight. We dodged some bullets, but we’re living another day. And we better learn from this, because if we do stuff like that Saturday night, we’re going to be in trouble.”

Read More: Boston University, Frozen Four, North Dakota,
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